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3 workers dead, 1 injured when scaffolding gave way

Pennsylvania residents may have heard about a work-related accident in North Carolina that claimed the lives of three construction workers and left one seriously hurt. A malfunctioning scaffold was to blame for the fatal accident on March 24, according to reports.

The incident occurred on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh as the four men who were working on the city's Charter Square building fell when the scaffolding or mast climber they were standing on suddenly collapsed. One of the men was taken to a local hospital for treatment of major injuries. However, the other three workers were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

At the time of the news release, it was unclear why the scaffolding collapsed. Following the workplace accident, Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials arrived to conduct an investigation. The report noted that it could take several months to determine the underlying cause of the malfunctioning scaffolding. According to the report, the OSHA investigators will verify if the construction company employers complied with the agency's standards including training employees how to correctly assemble, use and dismantle scaffolding. Moreover, the investigation will determine if there were any environmental reasons that caused the accident, such as high winds, or if the mast climber equipment itself was defective or was not properly maintained.

The law requires all employers to offer a safe working environment for their employees. When an employee suffers an on-the-job injury, workers' compensation benefits are available to help with the expenses that result from his or her injury. Some of those benefits include compensation for the employee's accident-related medical expenses and a portion of the employee's wages lost during the recuperation period.

Source: The News & Observer, "Scaffolding collapse points up risks, lack of OSHA rules", Martha Quillin, March 28, 2015

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